Teachers’ extra training boosts children’s literacy

READING RECOVERY 2Fourteen dedicated teachers have been presented with their new qualifications to help children with complex literacy difficulties to learn how to read better.

Presented to them at a special graduation ceremony at the Reading Recovery Centre at St Fiacre’s Catholic Primary Leichhardt, Dr Dan White, Executive Director of Catholic schools, praised the teachers for their hard work and dedication through a very demanding year of training with their tutor Rachel Chaston.

“These initiatives really make a difference and change children’s lives,” Dr White said. “I am proud to present these awards to you. I hold each of you in the highest of esteem.”

Evidence shows that the first years of school are crucial to build a foundation in literacy learning.

They will join 95 expert Reading Recovery specialists working across the Sydney archdiocese, who have also been trained through the Sydney Catholic Education Office initiative.

“Since the scheme began in 1991, Reading Recovery intensive training programs have trained 406 teachers to help children learn to read,” said Reading Recovery Tutor Jennifer Power.

“Throughout the last 25 years, more than 20,000 students in Year 1 have been provided with supplementary early literacy intervention so that they can continue learning without the need for further on-going support.”

Reading Recovery gives one-to-one instruction to students who need additional support in reading and writing every day for a minimum of 10 weeks up to 20 weeks. Pupils get a 30-minute daily lesson from a trained teacher in addition to normal classroom instruction, followed by exercises at home to accelerate their progress.

The graduation ceremony also acknowledged three new tutors – Jo Berton, Sarah Chick and Rosemary Peric – who went through an even more vigorous training period this year in order to help train more teachers from 2016.


Reading Recovery Tutors (left to right) Rachel Chaston, Jo Berton, Rosemary Peric, Sarah Chick and Jennifer Power.


Reading Recovery teacher training involves observing other trainees with students and suggesting feedback. The fortnightly sessions provide feedback

to assist the trainee to improve their own understanding about how to teach individual children with just the right level of support.

New graduate, Emma-Jean Cheng, from Holy Innocents Catholic Primary Croydon, said that she is now qualified to help students struggling with the written word to catch up with their classmates.

“It’s always been at the back of my mind to gain more knowledge in this area and to instil a love of reading among children,” she said. “It’s an everyday skill that they will need, for pleasure, as well as school.”

Mrs Cheng, who has been a teacher for 10 years, says she has learned new strategies to help children become confident and independent readers.

“It’s about becoming problem solvers and gaining the confidence to read, write and use those skills,” she said.

“With some children it’s about inspiring them to want to read and write. With others it’s about motivating them to use the skills.

“At the start of the year, one student started at a zero reading level. Now, they are at level 17 after 20 weeks of individual instruction.”

Next year, Mrs Cheng will work with five students in Years 1 and 2 – a crucial period for learning to read.

Evidence shows that the first years of school are crucial to build a foundation in literacy learning.

The newly accredited 2015 graduating Reading Recovery teachers are:

  • Cathy Langdon; St Aidan’s Catholic Primary Maroubra Junction
  • Claire Hall; St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary Paddington
  • Sarah Sadiek; McAuley Catholic Primary Rose Bay
  • Jennie Quinn; St Michael’s Catholic Primary Meadowbank
  • Kylie Bertram; St Gertrude’s Catholic Primary Smithfield
  • Paula Barclay-Coleiro; St Ambrose Catholic Primary Concord West
  • Jacinta Smith; St Bernard’s Catholic Primary Botany
  • Nicole Cripps; St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Riverwood
  • Emma Jean Cheng; Holy Innocents’ Catholic Primary Croydon
  • Hilary Keblis; St James’ Catholic Primary Forest Lodge
  • Philippa McFarlane; Holy Family Catholic Primary Menai
  • Catherine Noyes; St Brigid’s Catholic Primary Marrickville
  • Judy Hanna; St Christopher’s Catholic Primary Panania

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